The Indian Premier League has invoked a very weak response from its existing commercial partners.
If the market and the Board of Control for Cricket in India were expecting a windfall from the Indian Premier League central sponsorships, they may have a major disappointment in store. A majority of IPL’s six central sponsors last season have stayed out of the sponsorship bid process, which was initiated in the second week of January.
According to information available with insidesport.co, only CEAT has confirmed its interest to extend the three-year-old “Strategic Time Out” partner association with IPL. The RPG Enterprise brand is the only confirmed name from the incumbent central sponsors lost to have furnished its bid documents.
This is confirmed that Yes Bank will not be extending its five-year-old association with cricket world’s richest competition. Similarly, Maruti Suzuki, this year has driven out of the on-ground IPL sponsorship with its Vitara Brezza. Tata Motors is confirmed to have parked in to fill the category. Though, the confirmation and announcements may take some time.
The other two on-ground sponsors last year – Vodafone and Future Group, which had replaced Free Charge as one of the Central sponsors – are not yet confirmed among the bidders for the new season.
The longest IPL commercial associate Vodafone, in the process of a merger with Idea, is reported to be staying out of any major commercial commitments at this stage. The BCCI might find a replacement tough in the Vodafone segment. The likely replacement, Reliance-owned Jio has strategically invested with all the eight teams while Airtel has traditionally stayed away from the IPL. Vodafone has been an IPL associate for all the ten years of the league’s existence.
The BCCI had floated the IIT for the IPL central sponsorships in the second week of January. The interested parties had to submit an expression of interest by 17 January, whereas 31 January was the last date to submit the bids. The announcement on successful bidders was expected by mid-February. There can be a substantial delay in these announcements.
The selected bids will have to be ratified by the IPL Governing Council, which has not yet been called or scheduled. This is also causing an unwarranted concern for the IPL broadcaster – Star Sports.
The broadcaster is out in the market for broadcast sponsorship sales. However, no deal can be closed unless the BCCI has finalised its central sponsors. The broadcaster has a contractual obligation to give the IPL central sponsors the first opportunity to buy on-air or broadcast sponsorships. Only after the central sponsors decline the offer, the broadcaster can close its sponsorship deals with other brands.
Insidesport.co has reliably learnt that Coke has finalised a co-presenter deal for the IPL broadcast. However, the agreement cannot be signed till the time Star India gets central sponsorships list from the BCCI and there is no conflict of interest in Coke’s sponsorship category, or the Star offer is not accepted by the central sponsor in the said category.